A governorship hopeful in Cross River state, under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Sandy Onor, has promised to build on the foundation laid by former governors, Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke, if he is given opportunity to govern the state in 2023.
The Senator said this during a press briefing at the Ernest Etim Bassey Press Centre, Monday.
Below is the text of the Press Conference as captured by our reporters who were on ground.
TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE BY SENATOR(PROF)SANDY OJANG ONOR ON JANUARY 3, 2020, AT THE NUJ PRESS CENTRE, CALABAR
Between December 14 and 22 last year, I undertook a state-wide consultation to inform leaders and critical stakeholders of our party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of my intention to lead the movement towards the rebirth of our state, which has plumetted and nose-dived in the last six years. As you are aware, I have already declared my intention to contest the 2023 governorship election. In all the local government Areas we visited, I announced to our party men and women that I was willing and ready, through the support of our people and the grace of God, to make myself available as the party’s flagbearer for election as Governor of our state, from May 2023.
From Obanliku to Bakassi, my team and I met and interacted with stakeholders of the PDP. The consultation, however, metamorphosed into a carnival of some sort in many of the local government Areas that we visited. Wherever we went, there was excitement and palpable desire for the birth of the new Cross River State of our dream. Indeed, scores of non- party members eagerly joined our team, in what I saw as their show of solidarity in our move to midwife a new regime, where empty promises will no more be a lifestyle.
During the consultation visits, I presented my two years report card as senator representing the central senatorial district in the National Assembly. The people were amazed that I was able to impact the entire senatorial district with such humongous projects and programmes in just two years.
I also used the opportunity to unveil my dreams for the New Cross River. Copies of that document will be made available to you. But for the avoidance of doubt, let me mention a few of those critical areas that are very dear to my heart, which I believe equally resonates with the people of this state.
* I will take deliberate steps to restore the tourism glories of our state and will pay specific attention to ecotourism, which of course, is unique to Cross River.
*The local government system will be resurrected and its full autonomy restored. Our people depend on this tier of government for survival. I have been a local government chairman and had also served as chairman of the local government service commission. Under my watch, the dry bone called local government system in our state will live again.
*Every responsible government has a duty to protect lives and property. Knowing how critical security is to every society, I will do everything to secure the lives, the people, their investments and all that we hold dear in this state. Our state was once known to be an oasis of peace and that was why investors and tourists thronged every part of the state. We will get back there.
*I will pay attention to our civil service system. Once upon a time, we used to have a vibrant civil service. We will get the civil service back to the path of growth and both active civil servants and retirees will feel it.
During the visits, I had also said:1.That zoning has never, and I repeat, zoning has never been practiced in our state since the advent of the current democratic experience in 1999.
2.That we cannot afford to sacrifice competence on the altar of zoning, as we prepare to choose a candidate for the governorship or any other election.
3.That those who are promoting and spreading the message of zoning are either cowards who do not have what it takes to contest the party’s ticket under a free and fair process, or are ethnic jingoists who are only interested in misleading our people in pursuit of their very personal and selfish interests.
4.That nobody or group of persons should divide our state and its people in the name of zoning. We are a people who share commonalities with deep historical roots and it would be thoroughly unfair for anybody to fan the embers of geo-ethnicity, just to satisfy thier selfish ambition.
5. In the course of the consultative visits, leaders of our party were united in their resolution that the contest is open for anybody who thinks he has what it takes to contest, no matter what part of the state the person comes from. The leaders were firm on this, as reflected in the communiqué they issued.
6. I have worked with the two past governors who made us proud as a people. Mr Donald Duke laid the foundation, Senator Liyel Imoke built on it and also carved a niche for himself in the area of rural development. I am determined to follow their footsteps. Every good father will be proud to have a child who will do better than him. Therefore, I will strive to surpass their achievements.
7. On my honour, I will work in consultation with the generality of our people across the state. I will also partner with you, journalists. I will hold periodic interactions with you before, during and after the elections and throughout the duration of my tenure. I am and will remain a man of honour.
8. As Governor, I promise on my honour, to do only those things that will make Cross Riverians happy again. Cross River people, especially our youths and women, will make a living through dint of hardwork and will be encouraged to compete with their counterparts in all parts of the world. Luckily, our state is richly endowed with various natural resources.
9. I am a firm believer in God and I know that power belongs to Him alone. Therefore, I depend solely on Him to use men to give me power to rebuild Cross River. The days of power grabbing through caucus decisions are over. This is a new PDP and only God, with the involvement of the people, will choose the governor. That is the only way to get our state out of the current mess.
I thank you for your attention and I am ready to take your questions.